Ewan McGregor’s co-stars now can look forward to hearing him call out “action” in that adorable Scottish accent, as Variety reports that he will both star in and make his directorial debut with the upcoming American Pastoral.

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Philip Roth, the story follows a legendary high school athlete who grows up to marry a former beauty queen and inherit his father’s business. His idyllic life disintegrates when his daughter becomes a revolutionary in response to the Vietnam War and commits a deadly act of political terrorism. The film adaptation has long been in development, with Phillip Noyce (The Giver) previously attached to direct.


Discussing the project, McGregor said, “I’ve wanted to direct for years and wanted to wait until I found a story that I had to tell.” Some may ask why someone born in Scotland feels that he must tell what some would call a uniquely American story, but those people aren’t aware that McGregor recently drove across the U.S. while wearing a onesie, so he has as much claim to the American experience as anyone.

American Pastoral will also star Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning, both of whom will probably have a swell time taking direction from one of the nicest guys in show business. “That was lovely, Jenny,” he might say while flashing his winning smile. “Spot on, Dakota. We just need to make a wee adjustment to the shot, so back to one, yeah?” Who cares how the film turns out when the work is this pleasant?